Attacking the bureaucracy and the political decision making process, National Security Advisory Board member and former Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash, on Wednesday blamed the absence of strategic thinking at these levels for India's "ineffective" maritime policy.
"For 65 years, we have been unable to formulate a maritime vision. There is lack of cohesion and coordination in maritime policies, mainly because there is no one to provide leadership and focus, and the left hand does not know what the right is doing," Admiral Prakash said.
He was addressing a conference on 'Enhancing maritime capacity of India' organised by Observer Research Foundation (ORF) here.
He said due to the absence of strategic thinking, country has failed to capitalise on the immense potential that resides in the maritime sector.
"While the world has moved on, our ports and infrastructure remain inefficient, our shipbuilding industry is sluggish and merchant shipping grows at snail's pace, offshore energy exploitation is stagnating, the fishing industry is backward and human resource development is inadequate," Admiral Prakash said.
He also said nations which were behind India have now surged ahead in the maritime domain because of the vision, dynamism and resolve they have demonstrated in this area.
"We are sitting on a goldmine which could generate huge employment and investment opportunities and actually transform our economy," he said.
He also lashed out at multiplicity of government agencies in the maritime domain and lack of a focal body to take the responsibility of issues.
Along with Indian Navy and Coast Guard, 16 other government departments are involved in the maritime sector.
Stressing on the need to implement the Maritime Agenda 2010-2020 announced by the Prime Minister last year, Admiral Prakash said it should be resolutely implemented and closely monitored.
He supported the involvement of private sector in the maritime capacity building through public-private partnerships.
He also lashed out at politicians and said, "Most politicians leave the running of ministries to bureaucrats, who for all their brilliance and administrative skills, are not known either for commitment or decision-making."